The Supreme Court today sought stands of the Centre and all state governments on a plea for independent probe into all cases of alleged killings by police in staged shootouts in the past 10 years in the country.
A bench comprising justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai sought replies of the Union and the state governments,issuing them notices on the petition filed by the Gujarat government,which sought the court’s direction to deal with all cases of fake encounters in a uniform manner.
The Gujarat government alleged that vested interest groups were selectively targetting its police force over the encounter killings.
The petition said the Gujarat government was seeking “an appropriate direction from this court to deal with all cases of fake encounters in the country in an uniform manner,which would ensure that while human rights are protected,police force of terrorism-prone Gujarat is not left demoralised on the ground that some vested interest groups are selectively targetting the police force of only one state.”
The petition sought a direction to all state governments and Union Territories to evolve and formulate a uniform nationwide policy providing for an independent agency like “monitoring authority/special task force” created by the Gujarat government to probe into all cases of alleged fake encounters.
It said such a step is necessary so as to ensure that on one hand extra-judicial killings under the garb of fake encounters would stop and the honest police officers,discharging their duties against terrorist organisations/organised criminals too are not left demoralised and working under the threat of possibility of motivated allegations against them.
The monitoring authority should further be directed to place its probe report before the apex court,the petition said.
In its plea,the Gujarat government had said the apex court needed to undertake an exercise to examine the factual scenario in the entire country so as to avoid any different treatment to one particular state in which the number of encounter deaths are minimum.
The Gujarat government provided a detailed data about terrorist-prone areas in the country and said terrorism has already taken a toll on the lives of approximately 72,000 civilians and 12,000 security personnel.
The bench,which is seized of other petitions relating to fake encounters between 2002-06 in Gujarat,had given liberty to the state government to file a separate petition on the issue when it had complained that the Narendra Modi government is being singled out for encounter killings.
The apex court has already appointed its former judge Justice H S Bedi as the chairman of a monitoring authority constituted by the Gujarat government to look into 22 cases of killing in fake encounters.
The apex court had ordered a probe into the killings,allegedly in staged shootouts,on two petitions filed by veteran journalist B G Verghese and film lyricist Javed Akhtar in which they had said there was a pattern in the encounter killings in which only people of particular community were targetted.